I walked into the store yesterday after forgetting the vital ingredients of a pumpkin cheesecake, and was bombarded by a flurry of movement. Last minute shoppers, like myself, were hastily grabbing items off the shelves as if it were the last one left on the island. Chances are, that will probably happen by Sunday this weekend. Thanksgiving always embarks with busier ferry rides, great weather, and dwindling shelf stocks.
A group of friends and I are having our own Thanksgiving tonight, divvying up the plates to bring, and then meeting in the afternoon to cook the turkey. It's our first attempt at cooking a turkey, without the assurance of adults monitoring the progress and carefully taking the inside temperature to check against the time. One will be bringing his homemade cranberry sauce, another their stuffing, and a series of desserts will also make their way onto the table. As always, they're the favourite.
The problem is? A lot will be made with wheat; the pies will be made with a wheat flour pastry, the stuffing from bread.
Luckily, as I came home yesterday, chilled by the winds outside and loving the idea of a hot oven baking delicious sweets, I set to baking a gluten free cheesecake. Maybe to share.
The cheesecake is egg free this time, as one of my friends that will be there tonight has a severe egg allergy, an obstacle to eating many desserts people bake. Surprisingly, this didn't change the consistency of the cheesecake too much, only increasing the time required in the oven. The berries of summer, bright in colours and flavours, used in my last cheesecake recipe were replaced with fall ingredients: the flavours associated with autumn, warm and comforting, and (thankfully) the bridge from summer into the cold, icy winters.
I'm thankful for the time Thanksgiving occurs, as its a perfect interlude of busy schedules, and a time to relax, reflect and rejuvenate. The weekend is for a little personal R&R, with the added bonus of really good food to aid the replenishing of motivation. The extended weekend, if only for a day, changes Sunday's atmosphere by reducing the ominous presence of Monday ahead - threatening to bring us back to that busy schedule once again. Sunday becomes another Saturday, another day to enjoy the time walking trails with the dog, or playing in the yard with family and friends.
I awoke relaxed for the first time in ages this morning, noted by mum as I sat, reflected, and didn't jump in anticipation for the dishes to be cleared from the morning's coffee, and start on the next job of the day. Instead, by contemplating my state, definitely peaceful, I was able to enjoy the fact that the sun shined brightly, without any evidence of the usual mosaic of clouds in the sky, and I could spend a few enjoyable hours basking in the vitamin D... A remedial nutrient to health, increasingly apparent as the days shorten, and the majority of daylight is spent inside, or wrapped up in layers of clothing, further banishing the sun from the sight of our skin.
Mum exclaimed that I was "pensive, perhaps relaxed."
And that "something was different today."
I think its the open air and clear sky above this weekend, uplifting everyone's mood atleast, and also opening by mind into the realisation that the little stresses swaying me so much during the week cannot have any positive outcome, nor do they help me in finishing projects, or enjoying each day. Things to do are only blown out of proportion, making them see like the end of the world, unthinkably large and unmeasurable. Potentially, this weekend has the power to unleash my inner calm, previously barricaded and locked away, the key thrown to the stresses in my mind. Like the leaves of fall, blown from the tree to a new location, but in time they renew into new plants, new life.
The beauty of fall intrigues me.
The warmth and comfort of Thanksgiving dinners, with leftovers packaged and stored in the fridge for the upcoming week to come, sustains my excitement for change.
Flavours, spices that uplift the senses, unify the meals we cook this season.
The scarf, still hanging on the rack until the wind blows colder, will tie together every moment, as it reappears in photos taken.
Pumpkins resemble the unity and family we cherish during this holiday. A symbol seen throughout autumn.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake (Egg-free too!)
|Mixing the crust... and maybe stealing a spoonful!|
A rich and creamy denouement to any fall dinner, especially Thanksgiving, as the rich spices invigorate digestion through the senses. The nutty base is a perfect alternative to using gluten-free biscuits for the crust, adding more flavour to the entire dessert. You can alter the amount of spices to create the perfect pair to your flavour of cheesecake.
Makes one 9-inch cheesecake.
1/4 c butter, melted
1/3 c almond meal (blanched)
2/3 c ground whole almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground ginger
1/3 c brown sugar
1/4 c white rice flour
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
250 g cream cheese (light)
250 mL creme fraiche
1/2 c plain Greek yogourt
2 c canned pumpkin
1 1/2 c white sugar
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 9-inch removable bottom pan with parchment paper. Trace the bottom to create a circle of parchment to layer the base, and line the sides.
In a small bowl combine the filling ingredients, making sure ingredients are equally dispersed throughout the mixture.
Press the mixture onto the base of the pan, evenly spreading it out across.
Place the pan in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
In another, larger bowl, add the cream cheese and creme fraiche together. Beat on medium speed to blend and soften.
Add in the yogourt, canned pumpkin, sugar and spices. Stir until combined, and then beat until creamy and soft.
Pour the filling over the base, levelling it across.
Bake for 1 hour.
Upon removing from the oven, allow to cool completely before transferring it to the fridge to set for a minimum of 3 hours, preferably overnight.
Delicious with a topping of fresh whip cream.
Labels: almond meal, cheesecake, Cinnamon, dessert, dinner, egg-free, ginger, gluten-free, pumpkin, spice, thanksgiving